“Blood Oranges, Poundless Poundcakes & a Poem”

Blood Orange

Blood Oranges

They reach out to you….. 

…..Glow 

like brilliant sons. 
Silent and sleepy
in the aisle 
of imported fruit.
They call to your amazement-
these prodigals far from home.
But, this is not Italy.
No Alimentare here.

Poem in part by ari’ anna arena (click here for full poem)

Enchanted….seduced…far-away-longings…These are all brought about each late winter when the “Moro Blood Oranges” begin to show up in the markets. I can never resist them.

In posts from the past, “Blood Orangecello & Bootlegging” and “Bloody Sweet Orange Tartlets”, I have proclaimed my devotion to this most exotic & engaging citrus.

This week I turn to musings about pound cakes (doesn’t the name sound fattening?).

Recently on a photo shoot for Relish Magazine I baked a couple of pound cakes using no butter, just olive oil. They were delicious & absolutely moist, dense & sturdy, yet delicate in flavors & texture…lower in fat…here is my version using Blood Oranges.

DSC_6526

“Blood Orange & Olive Oil Poundless Pound Cake for Waltzing into Spring”

Ingredients for cake:   1 cup self-rising flour, 1/2 cup self-rising yellow cornmeal, pinch of salt, 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 3 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 2 generous Tbsps. finely chopped Blood Orange rind, 1/3 cup olive oil, 1/3 cup freshly squeezed Blood Orange juice

Ingredients for glaze: 1/2 cup Blood Orange juice & 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Blood Orange Peel

Juicing Blood Oranges

Chopped Blood Orange Peel

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a standard loaf pan. Line with two sheets of parchment paper cut to fit…overlapping in the bottom of the pan.

2. Whisk together the self-rising flour & self-rising cornmeal & salt.

3. Whisk together the yogurt, sugar, eggs, vanilla, chopped rind & olive oil. (or use a stand mixer). Add the flour mixture, blend well. Scrape batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake for about 50 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack.

Blood Orange Poundcake BatterBaked Poundcake Blood Orange

4. While cake is baking, make the Blood Orange Glaze. Put juice & powdered sugar in a small saucepan, stir well, bring to a low boil and remove from heat. While cake is still warm poke holes in top with a skewer. Drizzle glaze by spoonfuls over cake until half of glaze is used, allowing glaze to soak into the cake through the holes.

DSC_6436

Blood Orange Glaze

5. Remove cake from pan when cooled somewhat using the edges of the parchment paper to lift.

Serve sliced with additional glaze drizzle if desired.

DSC_6527

Tip: One of favorite simple things to do with slices of Blood Oranges is to dip the edges in Turbinado sugar & eat!

Add sugar dipped wedges of Blood Oranges to the rim of a cup of tea. Just squeeze juice into tea & stir.

IMG_2006

IMG_2004

A short, sweet season is close to the end…until next year my beauties!

“Bloody Sweet Orange Tartlets”

Is it possible to fall in love with an orange. I think so…it happened to me. I had a short love affair with a few blood oranges yesterday. Obsessed, I posed & photographed 7 little blood oranges for a good part of my day. Whole, cut, peeled, the peel itself, juiced, all together, separately…from the front, from the back, overhead, sideways.

Don’t you just love that color….a crimson red, a sexy red, a not-a-red-flannel nightgown red. This color takes my breath away…I am gobsmacked…I am enchanted. The colors of the planet Mars via National Geographic!

I couldn’t stop at posing these beautiful orbs…I needed to turn them into delicious drinkables for later & edibles for right now. So six of my blood oranges are presently becoming “Blood Orange-cello” and Jam…..more about those at a later date, and one very special little “red planet” was turned into four tartlets.

An easy & simple recipe for “Bloody Sweet Orange Tartlets”

Ingredients:

Enough pie dough for 4 small tart pans

Raw or Turbinado sugar

4 ozs softened cream cheese

1 large egg

1 Blood Orange, peeled, pith removed & thinly sliced

How to make it:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll pie dough out into 4 thin circles & loosely fit into tart pans. Sprinkle each with 1 tsp of sugar. Place tart pans on a sheet pan & bake for about 6 minutes or until very lightly browned. Remove from oven.

2. In a small mixing bowl whisk together the softened cream cheese, 2 tbsp sugar & egg until smooth. Evenly divide filling between the 4 tart pans.

3.  Place one slice of the blood orange on top of each filled tart & sprinkle with additional sugar. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until golden brown & puffy.

4. Eat warm from the oven if you can, but these little tarts are great the next day.

A Little Blood Orange Gallery:

Just in case you are interested:

 Blood oranges’ red pigment, anthocyanin, is an antioxidant. The pigments begin accumulating in the vesicles at the edges of the segments and at the blossom end of the fruit, and will continue accumulating in cold storage after harvest. Due to its pigments the blood orange contain greater amounts of antioxidants than other oranges. Blood oranges have a unique flavor profile compared to other oranges, being distinctly raspberry-like in addition to the usual citrus notes.

Blood oranges are a source of vitamin C like all citrus fruits. A medium-sized (154g) orange also provides 28% of the recommended daily intake of dietary fiber. Oranges can also be a valuable source of folatecalcium, and thiamine.

Bon Appetit, Goodbye February and Hello March.

“End of September Still Life Using Plums & Paper”

“Plums in Bowl” (magazine paper & paint markers)

I don’t talk much about my work, but I am a food stylist and September is the start of the busy season after a more languid summer of work. September is the time to rev up the cookbook projects, magazine articles, restaurant menus…get back into the swing of things…and it pretty much doesn’t slow down until the Spring thaw…so I have been away from my kitchen more than I like, not so much time to experiment and play. Not so much time to ponder food and drink…Along with food styling assignments I have found a bit of time here and there to make some of my quick & easy mini art pieces that always seem to have food as the subject..and I recently made the quickest plum tart in the world for a photo shoot. So this is my “End of September Still Life Using Plums & Paper”.

“A Recipe for the Most Simple Plum Tart in the World”

Ingredients: 3 or 4 ripe plums or plucots, Turbinado Style Vanilla Sugar or any Vanilla Sugar, 2 tsp cornstarch, 1 pie crust (use your favorite recipe or a store-bought crust), 3 tbsp butter cut into chunks, powdered sugar

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash & pat dry plums. Cut in half & remove pits. Slice & place in a mixing bowl. Sprinkle 2 tbsp sugar & the cornstarch over the fruit and toss together well. The plums will release a bit of juice which is just perfect. Set aside.

2. Roll pasty out into a large circle about 12 to 15 inches in diameter and place pastry on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

3. Spread Plum mixture over the center of the pastry leaving a few inches all around uncovered. Dot with butter. Sprinkle a bit more vanilla sugar over all.

4. Fold excess dough up and over the fruit, overlapping & crimping together a bit. Bake in preheated oven for about 25 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Remove from oven and serve with a dusting of powdered sugar. Very easy, very quick…

Yum.

A  few more “Plums on Paper”

“eat more plums”